(A shorter version of this article was first published in my ‘Tales from the Other Side’ column in Glastonbury’s Oracle Magazine, October 2017)

Surrounding and permeating the world we can see is a greater reality that is looking_for_magical_wonders_by_jerry8448usually invisible to us. However, most people get a sense of the realms beyond the veil at least once in their lives.

Ghost sightings are especially common. There are so many reports, and of so many different kinds, that this article is about one type only – haunted roadways near where I live in Glastonbury, in the South West of England.

Ghosts of the road are usually about emotionally charged events that happened at those places. The drama seems to leave an imprint on the atmosphere, so the peak moment keeps replaying on an endless time-loop. This can go on for hundreds of years before eventually fading away.  

coach horsesA good example of this type is the phantom coach and horses of Bath’s Royal Crescent. It continually re-enacts the drama of the playwright Richard Sheridan eloping with Elizabeth Linley. He’d already fought two duels over her honour, so their flight was electric with excitement and danger.


Tales of ghost hitchhikers abound all over the world. On the Frome to Nunney road, motorists sometimes see a hitchhiker in a flannel shirt standing in the middle of the road. He then appears briefly in the back of the car before vanishing. Perhaps a car killed him on that spot. Suddenly catapulted out of his body, he may not have realised what happened at first. His spirit entered the car as if he’d been given a lift – and has continued replaying that experience ever since.

highwayman ghostPhantom highwaymen haunt many British roads. Hundreds of years ago, Pocock the highwayman died of wounds after a fight near what is now the A39, between Street and Bridgwater. People see him on his horse, which is always rather oddly galloping on the spot. The shock of this sight has apparently caused several road accidents there.

On the Brockley Road, a coach and four horses sometimes charges at oncoming traffic, creating predictable havoc and inevitable collisions. At midnight on moonless nights, a ghostly horseman also appears on this road.

Another crash-causing apparition sometimes manifests in the middle of a little road in the ancient village of North Petherton. It’s a coffin with a spectral man sitting on it. This not only startles motorists, for some strange reason it also gives cars mechanical problems. 


ghost trainGhosts are not always silent. In 1857, two steam engines collided on the old Kentsford railway line. Several people died and many were badly injured. People still hear that crash and sometimes see a ghostly train go by.

On the road between Bridgwater and Western Zoyland, several people have heard the doleful hymns the Duke of Monmouth’s rebel band of men sang as they went home after the king’s army defeated them at the Battle of Sedgemoor in 1685.

This type of haunting is like a recorded hologram from the past. It doesn’t interact with us.  However, there are many different kinds of ghosts, and some are more aware than others are.


The ghost of Molly the tea lady still haunts Yeovil Train Station. Although she died on the platform in the 1960s, she continues to potter around, turning things on and off, and moving cutlery around. If anyone asks her to stop that, she does.

Molly sounds like an earth-bound spirit. This type of ghost is more conscious than the holograms. In limited ways, they can interact with us and our world. They haunt places because they don’t realise that they have passed on. This is why they behave as if they are still in their physical life.

When earth-bound spirits realise they have passed on, they are then able to see the guides or loved ones who have been trying to get their attention all that time. Usually with great emotion, they are then able to accept that help and move on to the spirit world.


On the A39 between Street and the M5 is a deeply wooded area where a strange white light sometimes follows cars. As soon as anyone turns round to look at it, it vanishes. Maybe it’s something that lives in the woods, which is curious about people, but shy of making contact.

Countless numbers of strange mysteries are out there – many that we’ve heard about, and probably scores more that we haven’t. As Hamlet said, “There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in your philosophy”.


Have you ever had a ghostly experience? If you’d like to share it in confidentiality, you can contact me through my website:

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First published in Glastonbury’s Oracle magazine

John Michell (1933 – 2009) put Glastonbury firmly on the map as capital of the New fog_TorAge world. He wrote 40 books, the most influential being his 1969 book The View Over Atlantis. Professor Ronald Hutton said this was “almost the founding document of the modern earth mysteries movement.”

In this book, the author said that the seven hills of Avalon – which included the Tor – were built by ancient people to mirror the constellation of the Great Bear. This tied in to traditional mythology representing King Arthur as a bear. It also linked ancient structures to the stars, implying mysterious cosmic connections with the universe. 

Ley lineHe also showed how pre-Christian sacred sites sit on key nodes of earth power. For example, the Michael ley line runs from St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall through Glastonbury Tor and Avebury. All along this line are churches dedicated to St Michael. This is because long ago people had marked this line with their special places of magic. As was the custom, Christian churches were later built on those power spots.

By the twentieth century, people were beginning to think there was more to the world than school had ever taught them. Michell’s writings gave voice to a growing awareness of the latent powers and mysteries of the earth.

As his biographer Paul Screeton said, Michell “re-enchanted the British landscape and empowered a generation to seek out and appreciate the spiritual dimension of the countryside – not least attracting them to reawaken the sleepy town of Glastonbury”.


John Michell didn’t start life as a counter cultural icon. He was born into a wealthy family who sent him to Eton and then Cambridge, to study Russian and German. However, he soon began to chafe against the conventional mind-set of the university.

“The whole atmosphere there was extremely rationalistic and materialistic,” he said. “I was never sympathetic to that, but saw no way of questioning them. The first chance of a breakthrough was in the 1950s when the first UFO books came out. It was quite obvious that people were having experiences that weren’t allowed for them within the context of our education.”


He lost interest in university, left without a degree, and went to work in his father’s property business. In 1966 he converted his Notting Hill flat’s basement into the London Free School, where he gave courses in UFOs and ley lines.

pic from the GuardianAndrew Kerr took part in this school. When he later set up the Glastonbury Festival, John helped him design the Pyramid Stage to be an exact replica of the Great Pyramid of Giza, as a great example of spiritual engineering.

Karl Miller, editor of the Listener, described Michell as “Less a hippy, perhaps, than a hippy’s counsellor – one of their junior Merlins, promoting the idea of England as a site of spiritual redemption, and bringing together popular ideas about sacred geometry, Druids, sacred landscapes, earth energies, Atlantis and UFOs.”


Author John Michell had a huge effect on Glastonbury, reviving this town as a centre of spiritual awareness and mystical experience. He also created and inspired organisations that are still part of Glastonbury’s special infrastructure.

In 1969, he established RILKO – the Research Into Lost Knowledge Organisation, which is still going strong. They describe themselves as “An organisation providing a platform for the dissemination of hidden knowledge incorporated in myth and legend, number and geometry, art and music, architectural proportion, megalithic structures and the geomantic layout of cities and landscape.”

Another Michell legacy is the annual Megalithomania Conference. This name came from a 1982 book he’d written about lost civilisations, ley lines, geomancy and archeo-astronomy.

In 1990, he co-founded and edited The Cerealogist, a magazine about crop circles. cosmic spiralHe said that strange lights in the sky, crop circles and other phenomena were all signs of huge changes in human consciousness that would ultimately usher in the more enlightened Age of Aquarius. He taught that benign ETs were the gods of ancient legends, and had helped early humans to create a civilised world. He believed these lost spiritual teachings are now returning to create a new golden age.

Glastonbury’s Gothic Image published his books, and he worked closely with Jamie George’s Mystical Tours. Michael Law, who then worked there, shared the following anecdote, saying, “This is my favourite story, not on the cosmic level, but on the human.”

One morning John parked his Morris Minor across the road and ‘floated into’ Gothic Image,   worried because his car was playing up. Someone who knew about motors popped over to investigate – and discovered that it had absolutely no oil or water in it. John was amazed. He thought it was enough just to put petrol in! A few days later, he returned with a big smile to say his car was going well again.


3b Chalice-WellHis younger brother Charles described John’s life as “turbulent in a peaceful sort of way”. Following his star, he somehow wafted above everyday matters. Maybe because of this, the facts of his final years are misted over with rumours. One story is that he and Prince Charles visited Chalice Well to bathe their eyes in its special waters. 

His Glastonbury marriage also soon entered the realms of speculation. In April 2007, in St Benedict’s Church, he married Denise Price. This was followed by a beautiful outdoor handfasting ceremony.

Denise told me they’d known each other for a long time before this, and over the years he’d proposed to her three times. However, the marriage ended within the year. This naturally created much chitchat around town. In 2015, Denise Michell became the first Druid Mayor of Glastonbury. 

Another rumour about John Michell was that he was the original inspiration for the character of Dr.Who. Like a time-lord, he strode across the vistas of history, explaining its mysteries to whoever cared to listen. Was his dowsing rod the original sonic screwdriver? Like much else about this influential writer, we may never know for certain.


The New Avalonians are people now passed on who contributed in some way to Glastonbury in the last fifty years or so. If you’d like to share anything about this, you’re welcome to message me through the contacts page on my website:

Click on this link to find my other articles about The New Avalonians   

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How Glastonbury Festival Began

This is one of my  New Avalonians articles, that were serialised in Glastonbury’s Oracle magazine.

I’ll put a couple of these articles onto this blog site, but most of them will go to the Glastopaedia website. If you’d like to receive updates about this, please join my mailing circle .


Once upon a time, there was a boy called Andrew Kerr. Although he was born into a ‘posh’ family, his silver spoon had a cutting edge. Youngest in the family, he was an unwelcome late mistake. Throughout his life, they all called him the Ape.

As he grew up, home and school constantly told him how stupid he was. In middle age, he discovered he was dyslexic – which was not understood in his childhood, and often mistaken for stupidity. He said this realisation was “a blessed moment of liberation after all the voices saying stupid, useless, failure.”

After leaving school, he tried various jobs. However, a combination of low confidence and high integrity ensured he would never succeed in the commercial world. Then one day he became personal assistant to Randolf Churchill – son of the famous Winston.

Randolph wasn’t just difficult. According to Kate Fleming, biographer of The Churchills, he was “loud, brash, rude, impossible, boorish, quarrelsome” – the list goes on, but you get the picture. Working with him was the making of Andrew in what he calls “one of the most extraordinary decades of my life.” If there were a doctorate in people skills, he would surely have earned it.

art-by-casperiumThis was during the sixties, so as Winston Churchill remarked, Andrew was “becoming intolerably hip”. At one high-level luncheon, Andrew found himself seated next to Princess Margaret. He began telling her about his book Heaven is a Planet, on how supernatural events in the Bible came from extra-terrestrials.

At the sound of this, the table froze. Noticing the shocked silence, he tried to change the subject – but the Princess insisted he continue. A week later, he heard that she’d shared these ideas with the Archbishop of York.  


In 1970 he lit the fuse that was destined later to explode into the Glastonbury Festival. andrew-kerrReturning with a carload of friends from a festival on the Isle of Wight, he announced, “We’ve got to have a proper festival. One that has some cosmic significance. Let’s do it at Stonehenge at the Summer Solstice!”

Stonehenge turned out to be a non-starter. But the grapevine was chattering about a farmer near Glastonbury – Michael Eavis – who’d held a festival in his fields. When Andrew went there, he saw that “the site was a perfect amphitheatre, with Glastonbury Tor seven miles away, commanding the valley.”

He explained to Michael that he wanted to put on a festival for “spiritual awakening and a demonstration against greed. We don’t have much money, but we’ll pay what we can. And Eavis said ‘yes’. It was the most blessed thing in my life. The chance to live out a crazy dream.”


rainbowsunflowerIn October 1970, Andrew moved into Worthy Farmhouse. As he drove in, he saw a rainbow arching over the farm. He took this as a positive omen. 

Once he’d settled into the farm, he got to work setting up the first Glastonbury Festival. He gathered a team of helpers and an impressive line-up of performers who were happy to play for free. These included David Bowie, Arthur Brown, Traffic, Hawkwind, Fairport Convention, and Jimi Hendrix in spirit. He’d promised to be there, but his tragically early death happened instead.

Arabella Churchill – Randolph’s daughter and Winston’s granddaughter – became one arabella-2of Andrew’s staunchest long-term allies. “She was a major force in the preparation for the festival,” he said. “Without her support and dedication it could not have happened.”  

The first hurdle that faced them was local opposition.“It was important to keep the people of Pilton happy with what we were doing,” he said. “It was the home of lot of retired military men and their families.”

Arabella accordingly set to work opening local fetes. At the Shepton Mallet Debating Society, she made a good case for having a festival, and won a resounding victory. Andrew appeased the District Council’s public health concerns with diagrams of the toilet plans. He also went to Pilton Parish Council meetings, and wrote for their magazine.  

He said opposition came more from newcomers to the area – the ‘real locals’ were generally agreeable. The vicar visited the farm and benignly compared them to the Benedictine monks. Andrew dowsed the church with his hazel wand, showing the vicar how a ley line led straight to the altar.

He’d discovered a talent for dowsing years ago, and also knew John Michell, author of The New View Over Atlantis. It was a natural part of the preparations to dowse Worthy Farm to find the most powerful place to put the stage.

pic-from-the-guardianIn accordance with sacred geometry, he and John Michell decided that this stage should be in the form of a pyramid, “to draw beneficial astrological influence and stimulate the Earth’s nervous system with joy, appreciation and happiness.” The famous pyramid stage of today’s Festival is still on the spot which they first picked.

When the party was over, Andrew and his team spent a month clearing up the litter. He also had to appease some annoyed locals. The Festival’s solicitor advised them to immediately pay all the doctors and people claiming damage. Writing to Michael Eavis about this, Andrew said “I am sorry there isn’t more in the kitty for you to start a new herd, but I hope £100 will get you a new cow!”


Then, regarding the Festival as a job done and dusted, Andrew went off to Scotland to live on the land in a simple, self-sustainable way as a crofter. At that time he had no idea how much bigger Glastonbury Festival was destined to become – both in his life and in the world.

After a strong beginning in 1970, Glastonbury Festival slept for six years while Andrew  was in Scotland. Then one day his partner dropped a bombshell – she was leaving him for another man. Heartbroken, Andrew returned to England. When he dropped by to visit Michael and Jean Eavis, they offered him a flat on Worthy Farm. He gladly accepted.

In 1978, soon after he’d moved back to the farm, Andrew noticed that a group of tipis tipihad suddenly appeared. Just then, Michael Eavis drove past on his tractor, announcing with a grin, “We’ve got a festival on our hands!”

It happened like this. Driving from Glastonbury a few days earlier, Michael came upon a police escort to a convoy of hippies who’d been trying to set up a festival in Cinnamon Lane. Locals had protested, and the party had to move on.

“Where are you going with this lot?” Michael asked the police. “Down to your farm, Mike,” was the reply. Michael protested that he had no facilities for them. At that, the police suddenly noticed that his car was still untaxed. With a sigh, Michael agreed to let them bring the convoy to Worthy Farm.

eavis2That fateful day was when Glastonbury Festival found its forever home. From then on, it steadily grew into the huge national event that we know today.

Andrew quickly gathered a team of helpers, who re-built the pyramid stage on the same powerful spot that he’d originally dowsed for it. This time they built it to last. Michael said it wouldn’t need planning permission, because for the rest of the year it would be a cow shelter and hay store.  Although “the comical filling it with hay bales to prove the point wore a little thin with the authorities,” they eventually granted its licence.   

Andrew moved into a caravan on the farm, running the Festival from there for the next eight years. “I became known as the site manager, but the post was more of a site foreman – overseeing fencing, gateways, water butts, lavatories, emergencies and litter-picking.”

It was no longer feasible to do it all for free, so they decided to donate any profits to the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. This had the added bonus of attracting a large pool of helpful CND volunteers.

Arabella Churchill generously propped up the festival finances whenever necessary. glastonbury-view-from-signShe also did much to create its special character, “taking on the theatre department and developing it to include circus, cabaret and street theatre acts right up until her premature death in 2007.” Children’s World, the charity she set up at the time, is still going strong.

Andrew managed Glastonbury Festival until the mid-1980s. He spent his last years in Pilton, visiting the festival site a few days before he died aged 80, October 2014.

Andrew Kerr and Arabella Churchill were like the fairy godparents of Glastonbury Festival.

Nearly half a century later, the magic they brought to its earliest beginnings has grown and flourished in ways they probably never dreamed possible.    


SOURCES:  Intolerably Hip autobiography by Andrew Kerr; Free State by Bruce Garrard

For more articles about the New Avalonians, click on this link 

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“I am the last of the Avalonians,” said Dion Fortune, before she died soon after World avaloniansWar Two. In Patrick Benham’s book The Avalonians, she is indeed the last on his list. After that, and for the next twenty years, the Avalonian side of Glastonbury went quiet.

 Then peace, love and flower power burst upon the world. Hippies embraced Glastonbury as a place that heaven had made just for them. They loved its Tor, Arthurian tales, red and white springs, ley-lines, mystical Christianity, faery legends, and the idea that the veil between the worlds was thinner here.

hippies-and-long-hairHow the local townsfolk hated them! They stuck signs on their shop and café doors saying ‘No Hippies’ or ‘Hippies Use Side Door’. Maybe because they felt so unwelcome, after a while many of the hippies decided to become ‘travellers’.     

Trying to go beyond conventional society, they took to living in beat-up old vans, often painted with things like flowers, rainbows and magic mushrooms. The problem was when their convoys found a place to park, they tended to take root – to the huge annoyance of the people living nearby.

As a result, a state of war erupted between travellers and local authorities, growing hippievanincreasingly confrontational on both sides. The climax was in 1985 with the infamous Battle of the Beanfield, when police brutality towards the travellers shocked everyone.

(Ref ‘Free State’ by Bruce Garrard).

 Around that time, New Age thinking was catching on. Like the hippies, New Agers wanted to create a kinder and more spiritually centred world. However, they mostly didn’t try to either escape from or attack the establishment.They believed in inner change as the best way to create outer change.

reiki-healing-the-world“By the mid-1980s Glastonbury was home to about 500 New Agers,” said Barry Taylor, who came here in 1985. About half of them were travellers tired of travelling, and the other half were followers of various esoteric and channelled teachings.

It was a close-knit group. They all knew each other, and shared ideals about turning Glastonbury into a key spiritual centre again. Some of them felt guided by a mysterious Company of Avalon that it’s said has long kept an eye on Glastonbury from the inner planes.

So in the last third of the 20th century, Glastonbury was a place of ideals and high hopes. It was during this time that the New Avalonians I’ll be writing about made their mark. 

My definition of this group is that they:

  1. Came after the time covered in Patrick Benham’s book ‘The Avalonians’.
  2. Contributed to Glastonbury and / or the Avalonian ethos.
  3. Lived or worked in Glastonbury, or this general area.
  4. Have now passed on to the other side

They don’t need to have been saints, and none of them were. Running after the higher rainbow-torvision, they sometimes fell into deep potholes on the spiritual path. However, even their mistakes can serve us by showing what to avoid.

As George Santayana said, “Those who fail to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.”

In asking around and scouring my memories, I’m gathering a good list of New Avalonians. If you can think of anyone you’d like to suggest, or have any personal memories or anecdotes to share, please drop me a line.

You can add your comments here or message me via the contacts page on my website. It feels like now is the time to celebrate these people’s lives before our memories of them are lost forever.

This article was first published in Glastonbury’s Oracle Magazine.

For more articles on the New Avalonians, click on this link 

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At least three people have recently seen a panther on Glastonbury Tor.Glastonbury_Tor_at_dawn_Somerset by Robert Harvey.jpg

‘Again!’ comes the usual sighing response. The issue is, while panthers have been popping up here for years, these sightings still lack the official stamp of reality. Some think it might be a shape-shifting creature from the spirit world. Perhaps it sparks ancestral memories of Grendel-type monsters lurking in the dark.

Personally, I think it’s both physical and otherworldly. First, the arguments for it being real:

  • ‘Credible’ people like farmers have reported seeing it. A few years ago, a farmer said something that left large feline footprints in the mud had taken one of his lambs.
  • Elusive doesn’t mean unreal. Wild animals habitually avoid us, so it’s a special treat ever to see any of them. Panthers are especially hard to spot because they are black.  
  • Cats are one of the most adaptable animals on earth. This is why there are more wild varieties of them than any other animal – they adjust to where they find themselves. It would make sense for a large cat to lurk around human settlements because of the greater chance of grub.
  • Unexpected anihippofotocloseupmals are now popping up in odd places all over the world. These are often ex-exotic pets, escapees from zoos and even stowaways from ships.
  • African hippos now live in Columbia. A drug baron once imported them to show off in his pool. When he was murdered, his estate fell into disrepair, and the hippos wandered off. They are now thriving, as Columbia’s lush greenery suits them better than the harsh African climate.
  • A South African man has recently decided to move a group of rhinos to Australia to save them from extinction by poachers for their horns.Raccoon1
  • American raccoons escaped from a German zoo when it was bombed in World War Two. Prolific breeders, they have since spread through Europe. Sweden has decided to cull them because they threaten local wildlife. Interloping species that turn out to be destructive like this are now called Judas animals.
  • After all the rumours about pumas living near Los Angeles, they were eventually tracked down. Since 2012, they have been filmed and satellite tagged.  steve-winter-cougar-hollywood

The Glastonbury panther may one day go the same way – tagged, filmed and somehow reduced. I can understand why Australian Aborigines say that photographs steal the soul. While it’s still a mystery, our panther has a numinous quality, which would be a pity to lose.

Many years ago, at the start of my spiritual path, I had a dramatic dream. A panther was trying to come into the house. I was terrified. I tried to barricade the doors – but then it got in by the bathroom window. I gave up, and said ‘OK, let’s talk’. We went outside, where it turned into a jungle boy, and we shared a bag of crisps.

In this dream, the panther represented the power of the spirit world. I think this is likely to be a universal symbol, meaning much the same to most people.  panther spirit animal

When somebody finally tracks down the Glastonbury panther, it will feel like the conquest of a mystery – and a little candle of magic will go out. However, it doesn’t have to be like that. So much of life is both physical and symbolic at the same time. I hope that for many of us the panther on the Tor can be both real and magical – like a shamanic guide animal, and a true bridge between the worlds.

If you’ve ever seen an animal in an unexpected place, drop me a line – I’d love to hear from you!

First published in Glastonbury’s Oracle Magazine

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Crow MoonHuge numbers of people have encountered ghosts. Individual researchers and organisations like the Society for Psychical Research have collected tottering piles of their accounts. Even so, these are probably just the tip of the iceberg compared to all the experiences that people don’t bother to report.

But what are ghosts? And where do they come from?

One theory says that traumatic past events leave an imprint on the astral atmosphere. The ghosts we see are therefore a kind of fading echo.

However, many places seem more actively haunted than that. Perhaps these spirits find it hard to let go of experiences they had in that place.

With its rich and ancient history, Glastonbury is a prime location for that kind of ghost.

A good place to set off on this virtual ghost tour is Glastonbury Abbey. In the middle ages, it dominated this area for the best part of a thousand years. Moreover, it wasn’t just any Abbey. It was the oldest, most powerful and most prestigious in the land.

So it’s hardly surprising to find the Abbey’s monks still hanging around. People have seen them in all kinds of unlikely places – walking through houses, passing by windows – two were even seen fishing in the River Brue.Abbey

Visitors to the Abbey can sometimes hear the faint sound of their chanting. Cold shivers and goosebumps come up when they find out that no earthly choirs were practicing that day.

Different people at unconnected times have also managed to photograph white spectral forms in the Abbey grounds.

Although most of the monks who haunt Glastonbury seem to be here in a spirit of devotion, psychics have also perceived some from the darker side of Abbey life.

• There is a suicidal monk, of quite high office – blackmailed about his illegitimate child with a local woman.

• A harmless mad monk wanders the orchard, mumbling to himself. His madness came of innocently drinking the dregs of a lethal poison meant for someone else.

• The restless ghost of a monk who was secretly one of Henry VIII’s spies still prowls around the grounds.


• In the 10th century, St Dunstan was both Abbot of Glastonbury Abbey and Archbishop of Canterbury. Many think that he now haunts St Dunstan’s church in his birthplace of Baltonsborough.

• Abbot Whiting is said to haunt Dod Lane – originally called ‘Dead Lane’ because funeral processions once went along this road. Whiting was hung, drawn and quartered on the Tor for resisting the king’s Dissolution of the Monasteries. So it’s not surprising to hear that his ghost may be haunting this ancient funerary pathway.

A good source of information about Glastonbury’s ghostly monks was the architect and church restorer, Frederick Bligh Bond.

From 1907 to 1922, he used automatic writing to see if he could find out about the original structures of the Abbey. At that time, very little was known about that. Archaeological digging later showed that everything the ghost monks told Bligh Bond about the old Abbey was correct.G'bury monks

These monks were also quite chatty about themselves. (N.B. I have modernised the medieval spelling for easier reading)

“Why cling I to that which is not?” one of them remarked. “Part of me dwells in the past and is bound to that which my carnal soul loved and called ‘home’ these many years. Yet I, Johannes, am of many parts, and the better part does other things. Laus, Laus, Deo! Only that part which remembers clings like memory to what it sees yet.”

Johannes said he mostly remembers just the little things about his Abbey life. However, these human touches truly bring these memories to life for us.

“I remember using the stairs often for my fatness,” he said. “But it availed me not, though my father prior recommended it often. Alas! I waxed more fat.”

And: “I loved the rain on our hundred roofs and myriad voice that came from the waterspouts, when the gargoyles shouted each to each. The cloisters whispered comfort and refreshment as we lay under the dormer roof in parched and sultry nights. I did sleep on the south side, next to the great gable, and so I heard the sound whilst the others slept. Vai Mubi, that it is departed and the voices are heard no more.”

George_and_Pilgrims_Hotel,_GlastonburyGlastonbury’s most famously haunted place is the George and Pilgrim Hotel. It was built in about 1475, to accommodate wealthy pilgrims and other Abbey visitors.

In the years of intrigue leading up to the 1540 Dissolution, all kinds of secret matters went on via the underground passage that used to run from the hotel’s cellar to the Abbey Gatehouse.

One of the hotel managers told me that both guests and staff regularly report paranormal encounters. He described his own experience:

“It was late night, after closing time. The place was locked up, the guests all in their rooms. A few of us were sitting quietly chatting. Suddenly the back door slammed. Footsteps came down the passage. We went to see who it was, but no-one was there – and all the doors were still locked.”

Other incidents people often report are:

• A man in historical dress walks through the bar then disappears.
• Ghostly footsteps creak in the passages.
• An inexplicable smell of cigar smoke drifts into certain bedrooms in the small hours of the night.
• Moving lights and sudden bangs happen at odd moments.
• A violent argument rages in the small lounge when no one is there.
• Spectral monks sometimes waft through the passages.
• Frightening presences lurk in certain bedrooms at night.

The top of Magdelene Street is one of the oldest parts of town, and has some strange tales of its own to tell.

The small chapel and garden there is on the site of an old hospice once run by the Abbey. People have 41b st margarets chapel and almshousesglimpsed ethereal monks here too, as well as a tall figure of white light in the entrance to the chapel.

A heavy feeling of sadness once permeated the place – especially in one of the upper rooms. A few years ago, the sad feeling was taken seriously enough to receive a full church exorcism.

I decided to see what more I could find out about that. Without giving them any information, I asked three different psychics to tune in and see what they could sense about that place. They came up with remarkably similar perceptions.

The sad tale that emerged was about a woman who gave birth in that upper room. She was in great fear, because she knew certain persons wanted her or the baby dead.

Desperately, she tried to hide the baby and keep the birth a secret. But one day, men burst into her room and snatched her child from her arms. She never saw it again, and grieved forever after.

In the 17th century, the Duke of Monmouth tried to raise a rebellion against the Crown. The king’s army brutally crushed the small rebel force at the Battle of Sedgemore, fairly near to Glastonbury.

Six of the Glastonbury men who had joined Monmouth’s forces were publicly hanged near to where the 8 ass rms 1Assembly Rooms is today. The spectre of those hanging figures is still sometimes sensed there today.

The Sedgemore battlefield itself is famously haunted. The ghostly sound of marching troops – maybe the King’s men – sometimes echoes down Glastonbury High Street, and makes the ground shake for no visible reason.

The procession of devoted pilgrims coming to Glastonbury over the centuries has also left a strong imprint. Sensitives say that along Chilkwell Street in the still hours of the night, it’s still possible to feel the pilgrims’ tearful joy as they reached this important destination.

The Tor has a rich mystical history, and many strange things happen there. Because there’s just too much to fit in here, the Tor has its own articles, which you can read at these links:

Mysteries of Glastonbury Tor

The Mists of Avalon

pet ghostGlastonbury also has its share of private household ghosts – even pet cats and dogs sometimes haunt their old homes.

Someone who was visiting a house in Roman Way said, “I went to get something from the kitchen. There I saw someone who I hadn’t been introduced to. On my return to the sitting room, I asked who it was.

My hosts were surprised and said no one else was in the house. When I described her, they said it sounded like the woman they’d bought the house from.

She’d left the place against her wishes when she and her husband sold it, and died shortly afterwards. The rumour was that she’d committed suicide.”

Another Glastonian told me that when she’s out driving she sometimes glimpses the ghost of her late father in the back seat of her car. When he was alive, he was always telling her to drive more cautiously – so she thinks these appearances are partly to say hello, and partly to remind her to be careful.

A young Glastonbury woman told me that she knows when her Grandad’s ghost has come to call because all the lights go fully bright.

“When I say ‘come on Grandad, you know I don’t like the lights so bright’ he dims them again,” she said.

Another household hauntee decided to challenge her ghost. She demanded, “If you’re real, why don’t you prove it and switch the kettle on?”

She said she had the fright of her life when the kettle suddenly started to boil all by itself.

The first thing to do is keep calm. Many ghosts come to us for positive reasons. These are often family or friends who have passed on. They want us to know that they’re not really dead – they are just living in another realm. When this kind of ghost appears, be open to any messages they may wish to give you.

Other ghosts haunt certain places because strong memories are keeping them there. Often filled with fear, sorrow or anger, these hauntings can feel the most disturbing.

However, if you have an encounter like this, the ghost may be hardly aware of you. Breathe slowly and deeply to keep yourself calm. Say ‘I wish you peace’. Then ask higher powers to guide this spirit to the light.

With this preparation in mind, who knows – one day you may give a sad spirit exactly the help they might have needed for centuries.

Have you ever encountered a ghost? If so I’ve love to hear about it. You can add your comments to this article, or CONTACT ME through my website.

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There’s something magical about walking through a mist. Everyday things take on strange, unfamiliar forms. A clump of road signs might briefly look like some skeletal apparition, gesturing dramatically.

We sense that the edge of the unknown may be just a few feet away.

Mist symbolises the boundary between realities. It also stands for inner change – when we’ve left behind what was once familiar but are not yx moonlite-and-hare-amanda-clarket in the new territory. Like walking through a thick fog, the way is unclear and the destination not assured. When we move into new areas of the psyche, we go through this initiation of the mists – usually metaphorically, but sometimes literally as well. Far from being only the stuff of legends and folk-lore, real people of our time have experienced the magical mists of Avalon on the Tor. (Art by Amanda Clark)

The first man’s experience has all the marks of an truly Avalonian experience.

One May morning before dawn he set out with his harp to climb the Tor. At the top, he found three people doing a healing ritual. They asked if he’d play his harp to accompany their ritual. To honour them and the spring sunrise, he played and sang some medieval songs.

“After a while, I decided it was time to return to my lodging,” he said. “I started down the Tor. As I did, I saw a very opaque wall of fog coming toward me. The idea of climbing down in this seemed unwise and unnerving, so I scrambled back up. The fog soon enveloped both me and the Tor. It was so thick that I could could scarcely see the tower. It seemed unwise to descend the steep trail just then, so I sat back down with the harp.??????????????????????

The mist soon chilled my hands too much to play for very long. I put the harp away in her bag and leaned against the tower, singing in the mist. Eventually it thinned, and I was able to make my way down the Tor. The odd bit about this is that I usually have a fairly good sense of time passing. But I realized that somewhere up there, I had misplaced about an hour, of which I have no conscious memory.

I think that some strange dreams I’ve had since then come from that lost hour. They’re about a magical reality that’s part of the Tor in another dimension. On looking back, it felt as if the mists had come up in a purposeful way. Strange as it may sound, I think they somehow took me to that other world.”

Instead of mists this next account features strong wind – which came up to act as a warning. Unusually, the only other person on the Tor was a man whom the American woman identified as a “groundskeeper or caretaker” because of his demeanour and the badge he wore. There is, however, no such staff on the Tor.

spooky TorHere’s how she described her experience: “As I neared the top, I was aware that he was up there, too. By then the winds were blowing at about 40 miles per hour. I wasn’t sure I wanted to be up there with a strange male. I began to experience vertigo about 25 feet from the top – and then real fear. I am normally not afraid of heights.

Something told me to stop. It was a feeling of fear and dread. I crept back down the trail practically on all fours. I walked back to Glastonbury pondering this experience.

At that time I had not done any reading about the Tor. I knew nothing about people’s supernatural experiences there. But I have a very strong feeling – an inner knowing – that the wind on the Tor came up to blow me away from danger. ”

And finally, this Glastonbury woman relates a modern day account of the kind of ancient tales that have made the Tor mythos what it is today: “I used to go for evening walks quite a lot. One night, as I walked up Wellhouse Lane I suddenly came to this wall of mist. I thought ooh it’s the mists of Avalon, jolly good, I’m going to go through them. So I walked into this fog bank. And when I came out the other side, suddenly there were no vehicles anywhere. Before I’d gone through the fog, there’d been a few cars and vans parked nearby. But now there was nothing. Apart from the Tor.49 avalon mists I then thought I’d go up the Tor.

As I was walking up there, I got that vague prickling feeling that always tells me something’s not right. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. There was no sound at all. It was quite foggy around the bottom of the Tor, so it was like an island and I couldn’t see past the fog that was all around it.

I got to the top. There wasn’t a soul up there. It’s the first time I’ve ever been up there alone. I was looking up at the sky – it was quite clear above the fog. And as I looked at the stars I thought – there’s something wrong. It was like everything had suddenly taken a slight shift to one side. I was shaking my head and rubbing my eyes, and thinking oh – this is a bit weird – what’s going on?

I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I knew something wasn’t right. I was up there for a while. Then I heard voices. Somebody else was coming up the Tor. I started to feel really disorientated.Suddenly I felt I’ve got to get back into town. I’ve got to get off here, I don’t want to be here. tor beacons

So I started to walk down the long path. And you know the ridges round the Tor? They were glowing. It was like silver light. I was thinking, ooh, I’ve heard about this maze and how it can sometimes glow, and I thought oh this is wonderful! But I kept stumbling on the path, shaking my head, feeling I’ve got to clear my head.

I was really disorientated. Another thing was, normally you see all the lights of the town – but there wasn’t anything. No lights, and no sign of the town. Near the bottom I went through the bank of fog again.

And then after I’d walked back through it I could suddenly see the lights of the town again. And when I saw the lights again in Wellhouse Lane I thought for an absolute split second – hang on! They shouldn’t be here! This is all wrong, there shouldn’t be any lights. Then – hang on – yes there should be. There SHOULD be some lights!

Once I got out onto Wellhouse Lane I felt totally normal again. But something very odd had happened. I feel like I’d walked into something and it was a slight shift of reality. Everything I was looking at wasn’t in its right place. It was all slightly off. That’s the only way I can explain it.”

From the safety of our armchairs, it’s easy to theorise about people’s strange tales. But like the old will o’ the wisp, these experiences laugh at our certainties, and our attempts to define reality. It does seem, however, that whether they are inner, outer or both, the mists offer to lead us as far into the unknown as we are ready to go.


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